Big Strides in Last Two Years Transforms Novak Djokovic into a Cult Figure in Tennis

As year 2013 came to a close, it was possible for anyone to beat Novak Djokovic. Roger Federer was braving media hounds for his loss of form and Rafael Nadal had unseated Djokovic as the world no.1. In 2013, Nadal had won the French Open for the 8th time and clinched the honor as the first tennis player ever to hold, lose and regain the year-end no.1 Emirates ATP Ranking on two occasions. The Spaniard had finished as the no.1 player in 2008 and 2010 and he was adjudged as the comeback player of 2013 by unseating Djokovic. It became known at the start of 2014 tennis season that Djokovic had drafted the services of 6-time Grand Slam Champion Boris Becker and while Marian Vajda continued as a member of Serbian’s coaching team, Becker’s arrival signified that Djokovic wanted more from tennis in coming years.

 

top tennis mens ranking Novak Djokovic - kridangan
Novak Djokovic – kridangan

Djokovic had a rather bad start to the 2014 season. He couldn’t defend his Australian Open title and his quarterfinal loss to the eventual champion Stan Wawrinka ended the Serb’s 25-match winning streak at Melbourne. The setback probably instigated Djokovic’s withdrawal from the first round of 2014 Davis Cup, which he had zealously won for his country in 2010. In February 2014, Djokovic lost to Roger Federer in the Dubai Open semifinal. This was the time, when Roger Federer had effectively silenced his critics, who were baying for his blood after a bad 2013 season. While the Swiss looked on a comeback trail, Djokovic was not far behind. In March 2014, Djokovic defeated Federer at Indian Wells and triumphed over Rafael Nadal at Miami Masters. Later, Federer handed another defeat to the Serb at 2014 Monte-Carlo Masters to end Djokovic’s remarkable unbeaten streak in Masters 1000 tournaments. Djokovic had begun his stint at Shanghai in 2013 and recorded three other consecutive Masters 1000 wins at Paris, Indian Wells, and Miami. When Djokovic withdrew from 2014 Madrid Masters, media began splashing stories that questioned the Serb about his choice of Boris Becker as coach. Djokovic, however, was unruffled as he defeated Rafael Nadal in 2014 Rome Masters. But some days later, Djokovic couldn’t prevent Nadal from winning his 9th title at Roland Garros. Regardless, Djokovic regained the no.1 spot in Emirates ATP rankings and unrelentingly continued his crusade. The loss at French Open to Nadal was second for Djokovic, who had finished runner-up to the Spaniard in 2012 as well. Three weeks later, Djokovic won his second Wimbledon crown after beating Roger Federer. Four days after his second Wimbledon victory, Djokovic married long-time girlfriend Jelena Ristic. In October 2014, Djokovic and Jelena became parents, when a son arrived in the family.

 

In the latter part of 2014, Djokovic consolidated his no.1 position by winning more tournaments while also losing some along the way. Djokovic was beaten by Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Toronto Masters and lost a chance to complete a career Golden Masters after losing to Spain’s Tommy Robredo in Cincinnati Masters. In 2014 US Open, Djokovic reached his 17th major Semifinal in last 18 Grand Slam appearances but lost to Japan’s Kei Nishikori at the next hurdle. In the remaining months of 2014, Djokovic had only one loss, when Roger Federer defeated him the Shanghai Masters in October. The Serb, however, won his fifth title at Beijing and emerged as the year-end no.1, when Federer withdrew from the final of Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. That was the third straight year and fourth overall time that Djokovic had won the prestigious tournament.

 

After a highly successful 2014 season, Djokovic entered 2015 with great confidence. After the 2014 setback, Djokovic reached the final of the Australian Open by beating Milos Raonic in quarterfinals and Stan Wawrinka in the semis. In the final, Djokovic defeated Andy Murray and lifted the Melbourne trophy for the fifth time to establish an Open Era record. Djokovic also won two other Grand Slams in 2015. He faced Roger Federer in the finals of both Wimbledon and US Open. For the third time in his career, Djokovic won the Wimbledon while US Open win was his second title at New York. The Serb’s only regret was losing to Stan Wawrinka in the final of the French Open. It was the third time that Djokovic had reached the final at Roland Garros without winning even once.

 

Besides commanding performance in the Grand Slams, Djokovic did equally well in other major ATP events of the 2015 tennis season. Though he couldn’t win at Doha and Dubai, Djokovic began recording a series of victories in other events. In ATP 1000 masters tournaments, he defeated Federer at Indian Wells; Andy Murray at Miami; Tomas Berdych at Monte-Carlo and Federer again at the Rome Masters. Djokovic didn’t participate in the Mutua Madrid Open but came back to win the Italian Open by defeating Federer once again. However, Djokovic lost in the Rogers Cup at Montreal to Federer and at Cincinnati to Andy Murray. Djokovic won his sixth China Open at Beijing and third title at Shanghai, which was also Djokovic’s 9th title in 2015.  The Serb didn’t stop at that and recorded two more victories as the 2015 season neared the end. In Paris Masters, he scored a convincing victory over Andy Murray and his 11th title came, when he overpowered Roger Federer at Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London’s O2 Arena.

 

As he looks forward to another new season, Novak Djokovic can reflect with satisfaction that he already has 10 Grand Slam titles in his kitty. Besides, the Serbian has held the no.1 spot in the Emirates ranking for a total of 175 weeks. In 2011 Djokovic had become the sixth tennis player among men to win three Grand Slams in a calendar year and he has repeated that performance in 2015. Djokovic’s ATP World Tour Finals performance is also exemplary. He first won the year-end tournament in 2008 and went on to record four consecutive victories during 2012-2015.

 

R K Gupta

R K Gupta

Mr. RK Gupta has been a prolific Kridangan writer on major international sport-events for last two years. Basically a Mechanical Engineer and Administrative Management Post Graduate, Mr. Gupta took to blog-writing as a hobby after his retirement in 2011. He graduated to full-time sports-writing after joining Kridangan.com in 2013. Most of Mr. Gupta’s posts are topical and analytical in nature; completely distinct from usual media reports. His narration on popular sports-events lends uniqueness to the reporting and makes it enjoyable for global sports readership.
R K Gupta

Profile photo of R K Gupta

R K Gupta

Mr. RK Gupta has been a prolific Kridangan writer on major international sport-events for last two years. Basically a Mechanical Engineer and Administrative Management Post Graduate, Mr. Gupta took to blog-writing as a hobby after his retirement in 2011. He graduated to full-time sports-writing after joining Kridangan.com in 2013. Most of Mr. Gupta’s posts are topical and analytical in nature; completely distinct from usual media reports. His narration on popular sports-events lends uniqueness to the reporting and makes it enjoyable for global sports readership.

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